Healthy lunch for children

In childhood and adolescence is when you must adopt healthy habits and then maintain them in adult life. Lunch is one of them.

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Of course, that of the media, whose inputs are received daily by children through the Internet and television mainly. And although the latter are very influential, it is still the family who leaves a broad heritage in eating habits and customs through learning and imitation of the behavior observed in adults. That is why it is important to preach by example.

  1. Healthy lunch, how to do it?
  2. What to include in a healthy lunch?
  3. Possible combinations of breakfast and healthy lunch

Healthy lunch, how to do it?

The lunch is an intake that tests parents. The rush and, in general, the tight rhythm of all the members of the family does not facilitate the morning task of preparing a good breakfast at home every day and a good snack to take to school. Hence, the most popular options are cookies, pastries, typical bread with cocoa cream, as well as packaged juices or chocolate milkshakes, to accompany them. This is synonymous with poor nutritional quality. And yes, these products provide energy, but at the expense of simple sugars and unhealthy fats. And when these types of breakfasts or lunches are normalized and become a daily habit, then there is a problem.

In childhood, the rhythm of growth requires a regular energy and nutritional contribution. That is why lunch is usually divided into two intakes, one to take at home at first hour (breakfast), and another for mid-morning (snack at the time of recess). At breakfast you have to dedicate your time, because if you take it in a hurry you run the risk of being incomplete and not very nutritious. To avoid this, it is necessary that there is a good family organization and so the child can make a good breakfast. If the breakfast is very energetic, the snack for recreation may be lighter, and vice versa.

When we think about lunch, we must take into account the variety, the frequency of consumption and the nutritional quality of the different food groups that we are going to include. In the case of children appointee early in the morning, leaving the house with only a glass of milk or orange juice, the mid-morning intake should be complementary and more complete, in the form of a sandwich with a fruit or yogurt , and even add a few nuts.

What to include in a healthy lunch?

With these foods we can prepare a healthy lunch. They are the following:

  • Dairy products (milk, unsweetened natural yogurt or cheese).
    • They are rich in calcium, a mineral that due to its structural function is one of the essentials for the growth of bones and teeth. The contribution of calcium during childhood and adolescence will be decisive for good bone quality in adulthood. Therefore, food must be rich in products that contain it in the most assimilable way.
  • fruit
    • Better fresh fruit and seasonal fruit . For its contribution in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidant components, it is another basic food group to include in lunches. It is recommended to include every day a piece rich in vitamin C (citrus, kiwi …). In the juice, much of the fiber content of the original fruit is eliminated, and more if it is strained; therefore, it is preferable to take the whole fruit. On the other hand, commercial packaged juices, better for occasional consumption.
  • Farinaceous
    • In our culture, we usually include lunch carbohydrates in the form of bread, toast, breakfast cereals, although in reality you could contemplate other options. The function of these foods is to provide energy mainly. In the market, there are many cereals for children, where there is a large presence of simple sugars, it would be good to do some reflection and try to find alternatives not so sugary, such as creating a homemade muesli using oat flakes and corn (not sugary) and add a few nuts. There is a custom of including sweet flavors in the breakfasts of the little ones, which only accustom them to a degree of sweetness that is even too high. The cookies are usually common at lunch, as it is a quick option and very well received by children. But better if they are homemade, to be able to choose the type and quality of the ingredients, as well as the amount of sugar. In case you do not have time for this work and buy commercial cookies, look at the label to know what type of fat they carry and how much sugar.
  • Nuts
    • Nuts , hazelnuts, almonds, etc. They are easy to carry and are usually very well accepted by children. It is a group of foods very interesting at the nutritional level for content in polyunsaturated fats, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • Other foods for a healthy lunch
    • Protein foods (ham, turkey, tuna, tortilla), olive oil, hummus, avocado. Usually to accompany bread or toast. These foods will enrich the lunches of the little ones even more. Dark chocolate can be included, but not daily.

Possible combinations of breakfast and healthy lunch

  • Breakfast: bowl with natural yogurt and homemade muesli (not sugary cereals, a few hazelnuts and raisins)
  • Mid morning: ham sandwich + 1 fruit
  • Breakfast: glass of milk + toast with hummus
  • Mid morning: tuna sandwich + 1 fruit
  • Breakfast: natural yogurt with chopped fruit + toast with avocado and tomato
  • Mid morning: bread spikes + dark chocolate
  • Breakfast: natural juice with pulp + bread with tortilla
  • Mid morning: homemade cookies + yogurt or mini-brick milk
  • Breakfast: homemade milkshake with milk, banana and a handful of nuts
  • Mid morning: turkey sandwich

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